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In the absence of effective therapies and vaccines, North African countries, as elsewhere, have taken comprehensive containment measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 such as closing airports and maritime boundaries, suspension of non-essential activities, and stay-at-home orders.
The first priority was clearly to keep people as healthy and safe as possible. But, by putting societies and economies on hold, these measures have led to unprecedented economic losses - at least in the short term. Moreover, the pandemic has not only shattered lives but also exposed the competence (or lack thereof) of governments in formulating and implementing public health and economic decisions.
This policy brief provides some of the challenges and considerations necessary to make these decisions that respond directly to COVID-19 while simultaneously sustaining strategic choices. In particular, it discusses what more could governments do for mitigating the public health and socioeconomic impacts of the health crisis and how to make COVID-19 a catalyst or accelerator of a momentous economic and social restructuring.
This article is part of the CMI/FEMISE joint “COVID-19 Med Policy Brief Series”, aimed at addressing the urgent issue of the COVID-19 socio-economic effects and impact on the EU-Mediterranean region.